Sri Ara students learn the joy of helping underprivileged
CHARITY: The youngsters of various nationalities repeat the success of last year’s fund-raising food and fun fair
STUDENTS of Sri Ara Private School had so much fun at last year's fund-raising food and fun-fair that they were keen to hold a similar event this year. They were thrilled that the funds raised were channelled to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami relief fund through the Malaysian Red Crescent Society to its counterpart in Japan.
The rewarding experience encouraged the students to hold another fundraiser this year but they were undecided as to which charity to support.
"I gave them a challenge to help us decide which charity the school should support," said school chairman Nooraini Mohd Yasin.
She said senior students were encouraged to take the lead in their teams to raise funds, do research on the charity of their choice and make a formal presentation complete with visuals, to the school board for its consideration and decision.
"The project involved teamwork, event-organising, research, reasoning and presentation skills," she added.
The students approached the project with gusto and came up with zany ideas for games stalls and ways to raise funds including a car wash, a music-machine and a little live band that accepted song requests.
On April 14, marquees were set up in the school compound for the stalls while stands and exhibits were set up at the covered corridors and adjacent halls.
On that sunny morning, family and friends of Sri Ara School students were actively involved in manning the stalls and preparing food for sale.
"We have more than double the number of Japanese students now than last year," said the school's International Section vice-principal Steve Cowan.
Cowan, who has worked in Japan and is married to a Japanese, said many Japanese families had recently moved to Johor Baru and their children were adjusting well in the school.
A stall set up by the families of Japanese students sold old books, toys, knick-knacks as well as snacks like onigiri (rice rolls), sushi (vinegar-rice rolls), yakisoba (noodles), yakitori (barbecued skewers of chicken) and okonomiyaki, a Japanese pancake filled with vegetables and seafood.
The students' creative talent was evident in the stalls organised and manned by the students themselves.
In the hand and face painting stall, Thulasie Baimanoharan, 16, and Tan Siew Chen, 17, had fun decorating their "customer" Jennie Chew's hands and face with intricate patterns.
"It feels like a family here," said Tan about the school environment while the other two girls nodded in agreement.
"It's the people," chipped in Thulasie, who attended schools in Penang and Kuala Lumpur before Sri Ara School. "It's my first week here and I feel like I've know them for a year!" she added.
A small exhibition of pencil sketches of dogs, cats and butterflies by Yap Hanzhen, 14, a special artist, was displayed for sale.
Three years ago, he started sketching as a hobby and the Year Eight student in the International section of the school, has since been recognised as a special talent in disability.
He is happy to give the funds raised to charity or non-profit organisations to create better public awareness of autism.
Customers by the portable pool took the challenge to scoop up live fish swimming in the pool with a plastic cup.
Among them was Yokeshwer S. Manocaran, 13, who was thrilled at his success in scooping up several fish. After six years in a Chinese primary school, his parents had enrolled him in Sri Ara early this year to give him a better opportunity to learn English.
His mother is pleased that he has improved tremendously.
Self-taught Sina Hossein Pour entertained the crowd when he played the violin. Throughout the morning, song dedications from the music machine and performances by the little band of student musicians kept up a cheerful carnival atmosphere in the school.
A colouring contest was held and Raku Hanabusa and Samantha Isabelle M. Bien could not wait to show their skills.
In addition to patronising the stalls, parents also learnt more about the Multi-Currency Account, 12 Months Step-Up Fixed Deposit and other banking facilities from RHB Bank customer service officers.
After the students faced-off their teachers in the Tug-O-War challenge, the students graciously invited the RHB bank representatives to flex their muscles and join in.
The English-medium private school is at 23, Jalan Straits View, Johor Baru.
The school, which started in 2007, offers primary and secondary education in a choice of the Malaysian or Cambridge school syllabus.
For details, call 07-222 2089 or 223 0089.